Thursday 2nd June. 7:45PM. ITV
The final 23 have been announced, and Roy Hodgson’s boys are back at Wembley for one final international friendly before heading to France for Euro 2016. The whole nation will be backing the Lions to roar their way to victory.
England’s final warm-up is arguably the hardest, though, as they take on a team that have tormented them more than once in living memory. However, this England side is full of confidence and will be eager to put in a fitting performance against the Portuguese.
Come on England!
Roy’s Last Chance For Experimentation
The final 23 have been named, but Hodgson faces a real headache as he looks to cement his starting XI plans ahead of the June 11th Group B opener against Russia. His first challenge will be to assess the fitness of midfield duo Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson.
Hodgson has made a big call to include both men and will want to see them in action again here. Meanwhile, young Marcus Rashford has remarkable worked his way into the squad and would love to build on his perfect debut against Australia with more minutes, and a goal, under his belt against a far more competitive opposition.
Daniel Sturridge is another player that will want to prove his credentials after returning to training at the start of this week while Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy and co are all looking to cement their places in the team to start in Marseille.
England have responded brilliantly after that disastrous World Cup campaign in Brazil. But this is where the real fun starts. Let’s hope they deliver at Wembley and, more importantly, in France.
Portugal Out To Cause Upset
After a difficult start to qualifying, which led to a change of head coach, Portugal bounced back to win seven on the spin to seal their place in France with ease and Fernando Santos’s men will be quietly confident about enjoying a productive tournament too. And they’d love nothing more than to end their preparations with a memorable win at Wembley.
However, the visitors may be a little understrength as star man Cristiano Ronaldo is out while Pepe is unlikely to play too many minutes after playing 120 in Saturday’s Champions League final. They might appear, but their potential absences from the starting XI will test the Seleccao squad greatly.
Portugal do arguably boast more experience than a youthful England squad, though, with Ricardo Carvalho, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma all hoping to feature here. This will be England’s most competitive game of the three warm-ups, which could serve the hosts well as they will already have one eye on the latter stages – where they tend to fail spectacularly.
It should be an entertaining battle between two nations expected to perform in France. And hopefully we’ll win some money too.
England v Portugal Betting Tips
Wth home advantage on their side, England are the favourites to win this friendly and are priced 10/11 with Bet365 while Portugal can be backed at 3/1. Alternatively, the draw is available at 23/10.
It seems fairly clear that, despite barely conceding in qualifying, England’s defence is their weakness. As such, it’s difficult to see them keeping out the visitors, even if Ronaldo isn’t playing.
On the other hand, a wealth of attacking options should give England enough confidence to find the target too. We’re backing both teams to score.
The impetus will be with England, though, and Wembley will be expecting a big performance. Meanwhile, every player will want to stake his claim for a starting role, which could be key for our second bet selection.
We’re backing the Three Lions to find the net in both halves, especially as all five strikers will appreciate the level of competition. At 5/2, it has to be worth a bet.